An Ode to the Simple Life: ‘Ti Zistwar Nou Pays’

Book Review

By Chetan Ramchurn

A seasoned storyteller who has plied his trade as a copywriter andcreative director in the advertising field, Nanda Pavaday had initiated his collection of stories months back. Inspired by episodes from his childhood and youth, the author celebrates those rituals and rites of passage that make life beautiful. Once published online, the momentum was palpable, likes and shares were never lacking and the following most encouraging for a writer who dreamt of launching his collection of short stories in book form. Helped by friends and colleagues his vision has come to fruition in October 2019 and has met with success.

The stories are relatable as they draw their essence from our collective memory. The precious family time that was the Thursday night Bollywood movie at 20:05 is one of them. Pavaday aptly describes the infamous villains of the 1970s and 80s. Pran, Prem Chopra, Danny Denzongpa and Jaggu are depicted in the book. While many of the 24 stories have a humorous touch to them, there is much more to take from them. Nanda celebrates unity among people “nou bann vwazin zot inpe kouma nou fami mem sa”.

This was the time prior to unbridled capitalism and our odd fascination with shopping malls where buyer and seller kept all records of purchases in a ‘carnet ration’. Nanda reminds his readers that the laboutik sinoi was a meeting point for people and mourns the death of camaraderie that existed in localities.

Two of the stories stand out from this excellent compilation: Leker mama and 27 Juin. Leker Mama is a celebration of motherly love but not only. The writer evokes in a simple and touching way the meeting of two people and their love for each other. He writes of the relationship between his parents:

“Il a vécu le reste de sa vie avec un sentiment de gratitude vis-à-vis de ma maman et plaisantait souvent en disant qu’il n’a levé la main sur elle qu’une seule fois; c’était pour lui passer une guirlande de fleurs autour du cou et l’épouser.”

27 Juin is poignant and deals with the loss of a family member. The tone is elegiac and the story while dealing with death is an appeal to us to cherish the memories of those who have left us.

This is the work of a deeply humane being who tells us that the simple things in life are often the most beautiful ones. Have we not lost touch with those around us and are we not constantly prowling for more? What Pavaday wants us to realise is that we are forgetting that life is about our relationship with others. Ti zistwar is a much-needed reminder of that.

* Published in print edition on 13 December 2019

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